Members of NHMRC’s Dietary Guidelines Governance Committee (the Governance Committee) have been appointed to consider possible conflicts of interest and potential bias across the revision of the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines.
NHMRC has commenced a revision of the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines (the 2013 Guidelines) to reflect the best available evidence. NHMRC has established a committee of experts to advise on and develop management strategies for conflicts of interest that may arise during the revision process aligning with the NHMRC Policy on the Disclosure of Interests Requirements for Prospective and Appointed NHMRC Committee Members (2019).
Terms of reference
The Governance Committee has been established under the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992, with member appointments made by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NHMRC.
The Governance Committee reports to the CEO of NHMRC through the NHMRC Dietary Guidelines Team and works collaboratively with NHMRC’s Dietary Guidelines Expert Committee (the Expert Committee) and any experts contracted by NHMRC to support the revision process.
The Governance Committee will:
- Review the declared interests of individuals shortlisted by NHMRC to determine any potential, perceived or actual conflict of interest related to the work of the Expert Committee, aligning with the NHMRC Declaration of Interest Policy 2019.
- Assess the declared interests of contractors involved in the Guideline review.
- Develop management strategies for conflicts of interest on a case by case basis.
- Develop strategies to manage potential bias related to conflicts of interest in the evidence review.
- Attend Expert Committee meetings determined to be relevant by NHMRC, to provide support and advice in relation to managing conflicts of interest and bias in the evidence.
The term of the Governance Committee commenced on 10 January 2021 and is scheduled to conclude on 10 January 2024.
Advice of the Governance Committee
The Governance Committee advised NHMRC on the process to assess disclosed interests of individuals involved with the revision of the 2013 Guidelines (for example individuals appointed to the Expert Committee and external contractors appointed to conduct evidence evaluations or methodology reviews).
The Governance Committee has provided advice about:
- the types of interests that are relevant to the work of the Expert Committee and external contractors that should be disclosed. This includes a minimum timeframe of five (5) years for which the interest should be declared
- the detail required for each interest, such as the timeframe, source of funding, and theme of activity
- the use of a risk matrix to assess the level of perceived risk associated with different interests
- importance of appointing a chairperson with low risk of perceived or actual conflicts of interest.
The Governance Committee assisted with the development of a Disclosures of Interest form specific to revision of the 2013 Guidelines.
Member information and disclosure of interests
Experts appointed to the Governance Committee represent a wide range of expertise: conflicts of interest management, guideline development and review processes, research methodology, health ethics and stakeholder influence on health research and policy.
Committee members are required to disclose their interests on an ongoing basis. Members are asked to consider perceived interests as well as actual interests. A summary of the interests disclosed by each member is provided below.
Professor Bero has an interest in the translation of science into clinical practice and health policy, with a particular focus on methods for assessing bias in the design, conduct and dissemination of research. Professor Bero has sat on a number of international committees related to conflicts of interest and research. She has widely published in many journals and her current research program covers bias, meta-analysis and systematic reviews, pharmaceutical policy, tobacco control policy and methods for environmental hazard and risk assessment.
- Full-time employment at The University of Colorado
- Senior Editor, Cochrane Public Health and Health Services Network and Research Integrity, for which the University of Colorado receives remuneration
- Travel support to present at the 34th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) 2018
- Published extensively on methods for systematic review and risk of bias assessment impact of conflicts of interest and funding sources on the design, conduct and publication of research
- NHMRC project grant 2018-2020 (no-cost extension into 2022)
- External Conflicts of Interest Advisor for Health Canada for which hourly consultant payments are received
- Member of the NHMRC Synthesis and Translation of Research Evidence Advisory Group.
Doctor Bastian has an interest in epidemiology and effectiveness research. She was a founding member and has held multiple roles at the Cochrane Collaboration. She was formerly a senior clinical research scientist at the US National Institutes of Health, in its National Centre for Biotechnology Information. Doctor Bastian headed the Health Information Department at the National Institute of Quality and Efficiency in Health Care in Germany. Her research interest is in factors affecting the validity of systematic reviews.
- Freelance paid and unpaid writing for commercial and non-commercial outlets, including PLOS and BMJ
- Dean's Scholarship (fee waiver) for the PhD program at Bond University (2010-2020)
- Editorial board, Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin (since 2020)
- Leader of Independent Advisory Group for Stakeholder engagement in high-profile reviews pilot (Cochrane Collaboration)
- Lectures on research integrity with travel and accommodation, University of Utah (2018)
- Speaker, World Conference of Science Journalists (2019)
- Senior Clinical Scientist, National Centre for Biotechnology Information at the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (2011-2018)
- Speaker, Virginia Commonwealth University (2017)
- Speaker, University of Utah (2017).
Professor Ghersi is the Senior Principal Research Scientist at NHMRC. She advises on all aspects of the evaluation and use of research evidence, including research funded by NHMRC and clinical practice, public health and environmental health guidelines produced by the agency. She is experienced in leading clinical trials, cohort study and guideline reform. Professor Ghersi has published extensively in peer reviewed journals on the topic of best practice methodologies and processes for public health and guideline development.
- Member of the Cochrane Collaboration
- Academic appointment, The University of Sydney
- World Health Organisation, Nutrition Department
- Chair, NHMRC Synthesis and Translation of Research Evidence Advisory Group.
Professor Olver has been instrumental in establishing multiple oncology clinics across Australia. He has held many leadership positions in the area of oncology and research. In 2020 he accepted the position of Professorial Research Fellow, School of Psychology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Adelaide and Adjunct Professor, School of Public Health, in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. He has published over 330 articles in journals, 28 book chapters and 4 books.
Professor Olver has served on many ethics committees including the Australian Health Ethics Committee of the NHMRC for 9 years and was chair for 6 years until 2018. He also served on the NHMRC Council for 6 years. He serves on the Cancer Monitoring Advisory Group of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. He currently chairs the Board for the Sax Institute in Sydney and the Adolescent and Young Adult Advisory Board to Canteen. Professor Olver was awarded Membership of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2011 “for service to medical oncology as a clinician, researcher, administrator and mentor, and to the community through leadership roles with cancer control organisations”.
- Employed by the University of Adelaide and the University of Notre Dame Australia
- NHMRC grants on implementation science, bowel cancer screening, and an ARC Discovery project relating to alcohol
- Engaged in educational activities in the past 5 years with Teasro, Helsinn, Teva, Seqirus, Merck
- Consult for Bellberry Ethics Committee
- Australian Research Council Medical Research Advisory Group
- VieCure Clinical Advisory Committee
- Aucentra Therapeutics Pty Ltd, Advisory Board
- Voluntary Chair of Board of Sax Institute
- NHMRC Australian Health Ethics Committee (past member and Chair)
- NHMRC Council (past member)
- Cancer Monitoring Advisory Group, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
- Adolescent and Young Adult Advisory Board to Canteen.
Associate Professor Richards has an interest in the intersection of healthcare, law and ethics. Her research has focussed on consent to treatment, technology and healthcare and organ and tissue donation. She was previously employed at the University of Adelaide Law School for many years and then spent a short period of time researching responsible data governance at the Singapore ETH Centre, Future Health Technologies Project. She serves on two NHMRC Principal Committees and has been involved in public consultations on mitochondrial donation. Her co-authored book, ‘Technology, Healthcare and the Law: An evolving relationship’ was published in early 2022 and she has published over 80 journal articles, book chapters and books.
- Employment at University of Queensland Medical School as Associate Professor of Ethics and Professionalism
- Appointment as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at Queensland University of Technology, Australian Centre for Health Law Research and Adelaide University
- President of the Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law
- Current member of NHMRC’s Australian Health Ethics Committee, the Embryo Research Licensing Committee and was the Chair of the Mitochondrial Donation Expert Working Committee
- Chief investigator on three NHMRC grants relating to public policy and ethical considerations in healthcare
- Conducts research - funding supports appointment of Post Doc researchers to assist in the research.